Sara Mainville


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Sara Mainville is a senior associate at OKT.

Sara works with First Nations as legal counsel, advisor, and negotiator.

Ms. Mainville brings a diversity of experience as a lawyer and policy advisor at both the Chiefs of Ontario as well as for First Nation governments. Sara has a growing practice in negotiations, strategic planning and governance and policy development. Sara’s strength is engaging provincial and Federal governments in bilateral/trilateral negotiations in difficult issues.

Sara Mainville has a Bachelor of Management from the University of Lethbridge and a LL.B. from Queen’s University where she excelled in taxation, correctional law and environmental and resource management law. Sara chose to article at Ecojustice Canada in 2004-2005, passed the bar in 2005 and practiced with a well-recognized Anishinaabe lawyer at his law firm in 2005-2007. While at the firm she worked on Aboriginal title and rights claims and started on files for her own community, Couchiching First Nation.
In addition to her legal practice, Sara has earned a LL.M from the University of Toronto and was awarded the June Callwood bursary for graduate studies in 2006-2007. Sara Mainville’s thesis, “An Anishinaabe Perspective of Treaty #3” was the beginning of a lifetime of study by her regarding Treaty #3 and Indigenous jurisdiction’s important place in reconciling Indigenous sovereignty in Canada. Sara has taught undergraduate studies in jurisprudence at both Algoma University and Seven Generations Education Institute.

Throughout her legal career, Sara is committed to give back to her community of Couchiching First Nation. Sara has represented Couchiching as a lawyer, helped community members with sentencing submissions, and was elected a Councillor in First Nation government. In 2014, Sara was elected Chief of Couchiching First Nation. During that term she ensured that the First Nation has strong policy going forward, a good social media presence to engage the many off-reserve members in community affairs and she started the Wasaw group of companies. Sara was also very active as a political leader in the Grand Council Treaty #3 and Chiefs of Ontario committees.

In April 2016, Sara joined OKT LLP to restart her legal practice in the areas of environmental and Indigenous rights law. Sara Mainville has a strong interest in policy and governance and she is strongly positioned to assist First Nations in negotiating Nation to Nation agreements for governance, health, education and economic development.

Sara is also a member of the Debwewin Justice Committee implementing the Iacobucci Justice report in partnership between First Nation organizations and the Province of Ontario whose mandate ends in October 2016. Recently, Sara was named to the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee for the EA Review process by the Assembly of First Nations. Sara Mainville is well regarded across governments and with First Nation leaders as both a strategic thinker and negotiator.


  • “Territorial Co-Governance, Indigenous Jurisdiction and Impact Assessment for Sustainability.” Presentation to the Assembly of First Nations ACCE Committee.
  • “Indigenous Jurisdiction and Environmental Governance.” Environmental Workshop, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, March 2017.
  • “An update on the federal environmental assessment legislation review: Perspective from a member of the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee and an overview of progressive reform ideas on the table for the EA Panel.” PDAC 2017, Toronto, ON.
  • “Aboriginal Jurisdiction and Environmental Stewardship.” November 2016. Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, Ottawa, ON.
  • "One year since the political accord: where are we now?", OKT Blog, August 10, 2016
  • “Recent Federal Legislation Affecting Aboriginal Communities” OBA Program, September 2015, Toronto, Ontario.
  • Anishinaabe Aki: Treaty #3 after 140 years (unpublished) July, 2013.
  • “Developing and Implementing Consultation Protocols.” (unpublished). Pacific Business and Law Institute, Aboriginal Law 2011.
  • “Treaty Councils and Mutual Reconciliation under Section 35.” (Fall 2007) Indigenous Law Journal 141.
  • “Manidoo Mazina-igan: an Anishinaabe Perspective of Treaty #3” (unpublished), LL.M. Thesis, University of Toronto, 2007.